The success stories at ‘Sahaj’, a nonprofit NGO that works to uplift the rural communities in remote parts of the Indian state of Gujarat which are heartwarming. Sahaj provides comprehensive training and support services that enable tribal families to earn home-based livelihood through their traditional handicraft skills, as an alternative to seasonal urban migration. This increases family income which allows children to remain in school and stabilizes families in safer, healthier environments. Sahaj’s core mission is to encourage economic empowerment of women artisans through handicrafts, uplift their social status and strive for their education, health and financial security. Sahaj began their work with traditional tribal bead work in 1994, and very soon realized the importance of design development and trainings to meet market demands.
Artisans who want to join Sahaj undergo skill development training and acquire basic skills to work on different products. After the completion of training, they start working for Sahaj and earn fair wage for their work. Some artisans also choose to start working independently as producers extensively supported by Sahaj to avail loans, purchase equipment and start their own business. Sahaj has so far trained around 3,000 artisans who are earning a living through handicrafts and hopes to reach 5000 by 2020.